Paris confab reveals education woes


Poor training and low teacher salaries are plaguing French Jewish schools, a conference revealed.

More than 800 teachers and directors working in the Jewish private school network in France gathered Monday in Paris for the yearly conference of the education department of the Jewish Agency. They set administrative and curriculum priorities for the upcoming school year.

Yossi Haklai, the Jewish Agency’s education director in Paris, said two major problems were identified.

“There is very little training available for teachers in the kodesh, or religious, curriculum, and the salaries are so low that we have trouble attracting new teachers,” he said.

Funds for religious studies, Jewish history studies and Hebrew language studies also has not grown with the exponential growth of students in French Jewish schools.

Some 29,000 students attend approximately 120 Jewish schools in France. The number of students has soared from about 4,000 in the 1990s due in part to general rioting and anti-Semitic violence in the suburbs that began around 2000, in which Jewish students were attacked frequently.

Haklai said the private Jewish schools in France function under a unique public-private arrangement with the state.

About 30,000 Jewish youngsters still attend public schools, mostly in Paris.

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